Volume 01 Issue 3

Volume 1 – Issue 3 – Editorial

October 28, 2009

“God have pity,” wrote the American poet John Crowe Ransom, “on the poor sinner who must write with no dinner, no gravy and no grub, no pewter and no pub, no belly and no bowels, only consonants and vowels.” His is the spectre of the writer as wretch, nourished and clothed by nothing more than...

The Art of the Matter

October 28, 2009

Who delivers to bring the arts into the mainstream of politics? “If the real purposes of human living are to be served and the instinct we all share to work towards something we can glimpse beyond ourselves, is to be fulfilled in the happiest and most creative way, then we must certainly recognise...


November 2, 2009
by Ali Smith

The Country Diary of a 21st Century Lady MARCH 6.55am in the morning. I’m asleep. 7am: my phone clicks into answerphone. It’s someone from Women’s Hour. They want me to come on, live, later that day and talk about why I don’t like writing by women. Eh? They what? I don’t? We sit up in bed...

Goodness in a Fallen World: The fate of Robin Jenkins

November 2, 2009
by Brian Morton

“IT’S ABOUT MORALITY, not geography.” Robin Jenkins’ fate was to write at a time when the proper matter of fiction was supposed to be psychology,history and its illusions, or the nature of fiction itself, anything but questions of good and evil. The sheer old-fashionedness of his fiction...

From Kirriemuir to Neverland

November 2, 2009
by Joyce McMillan

AS THE WORLD knows, James Matthew Barrie was the humble handloom weaver’s son from Kirriemuir who rose, between his birth in 1860 and his death in 1937, to be the author of perhaps the most famous children’s play ever written, a baronet of the realm, and – by the work of his own pen – an immensely...

Ossian and the Last Minstrel

November 2, 2009
by Angus Dunn

IN 1968, I am walking up Muindi Mbingu Street in Nairobi, heading towards the University, when I see Ngugi wa Thiong’o marching towards me. When I had taken up my job in the University Literature Department not long before, I had been delighted to find that my office was next to Ngugi’s –...

The People’s Act of Love – EXTRACTS FROM A NOVEL

November 2, 2009
by James Meek

Broucek sat on the bed next to Mutz, holding onto his rifle muzzle with both hands. He was dark as a gypsy, although he said he wasn’t one, and insisted, without ever getting angry about it, that no gypsy had ever come close enough to his mother to have contributed to the conception, or to have popped...

3 for 2: Bookselling Now

November 2, 2009
by Rosemary Goring

IN THE EARLY 1980s, George Street in Edinburgh was prosperous but dull. Between the hours of nine and five it was inhabited by pinstripes, housewives, and the occasional dog-collared minister, shuttling between offices and shops and the Church of Scot-land’s headquarters at No 121. Come early evening...

Drouthy Neebors: Irish and Scottish Links

November 2, 2009
by Ian Bell

IN 1999 the late Donald Dewar, First Minister of Scotland, paid a visit to Dublin. Scottish journalists who were with him remember that he was taken aback to be greeted by the Irish government with all the honour due to a head of state. Some even say that Donald was distinctly, even visibly, uneasy...

All Points North

November 2, 2009
by Duncan Rice

Peter Davidson is a colleague at Aberdeen University. But I have had sufficient practice in being critical of colleagues and their works over the years to have no difficulty in trashing this book if I didn’t think it was a masterpiece. It is. It’s the kind of book which provokes the gasp of recognition...

Volume 1 – Issue 3 – Gallimaufry

November 2, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

The Finishing School Muriel Spark PENGUIN: £6.99 pp.156 ISBN 014100598 The appropriately named Chris Wiley is the boy wonder of College Sunrise, a Swiss mixed sex finishing school of questionable pedigree. Etiquette classes are given not on what to wear at Ascot but on how to run away from pythons,...